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2008 Magazines

Other years

Amateur Radio December 2008

Delivery expected from 2 December


Seasons Greetings

With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, another year has been and gone.

Another busy year. For me, the highlights have been the trip to Broken Hill for the WIA AGM in May and the terrific gathering of approximately 100 amateurs interested in VHF, UHF and microwave activities at the GippsTech Conference in July. In addition, there were the monthly meetings of the local radio club, several assessment events and a little on-air activity, apart from ensuring that we published eleven issues of AR. Most of the projects on my “to do” list have not really progressed very far, but I need to take some annual leave from work, so perhaps some might be completed soon.

We continue to have a slow but steady stream of contributions from authors which keep our technical editors busy. However, our list is reducing in size, so please consider putting your fingers to the keyboard to write up your latest project. Of course, do not forget to take some photographs so that we can see your handiwork. Anyone can contribute – if you are uncertain, read the guideline documents that are available on the AR section of the WIA website.

I extend my thanks to all who have made contributions over the past year – our magazine cannot be produced unless contributions are offered. Most articles do finally make it to press, so do not think that you cannot see your name in the magazine! See also my request below!

A column for Foundation licensees?

I have received a letter from one reader requesting a column aimed at assisting Foundation licensees to increase their knowledge. The topic was discussed at the last PubCom meeting and everyone agreed that it was a good idea, except for one problem – who would collate such a column, even if it was only say every second month. Is there a volunteer out there?

Perhaps a better approach would be for individuals to write up an individual simple project that can be completed by someone without extensive knowledge. We had one example earlier this year with the Slim Jim vertical for 146 MHz contributed by Duncan VK2DLR in the May issue. We also have an article coming soon (perhaps in the January/February issue) on how to construct an off-centre fed dipole for HF. I am sure that clubs around the country are each doing something occasionally for the new amateurs – all we need is for someone at each club to prepare an article when such an activity happens.


As many readers are aware, PubCom spent some time and energy earlier this year on attempting to determine the delivery time delays around the country. We were interested in the length of delay between dispatch from Melbourne to delivery to a member’s mail box. Part of the question is the fact that AR will appear on the news stand prior to the mail box. We are still examining how (if) we can address that particular issue! Essentially, the magazine distributor has an extremely efficient distribution system, whilst there appear to be variable delays in the Australia Post system.

One question received in the last month was the question of variable delivery affecting the availability of items advertised in Hamads. A member in one state receives their magazine, reads Hamads first. Finding an item of interest, they call the advertiser, only to find that the item sold two days ago to someone living in another state. With any periodical publication, this issue will always exist, as we cannot guarantee delivery at all addresses on the same date.

Another factor is that many amateurs now submit an item to Hamads and also post the item on an internet site, such as the VK Classified section on the website. Items are often sold very quickly via this particular site. Of course, some will sell via eBay.

So, one possible solution would be to post Hamads onto the WIA website on the day that AR leaves the mailing house. If we put such an arrangement in place, everyone would theoretically be able to access Hamads at the same time. But what about those that do not have ready access to the internet – they are now at a disadvantage. In addition, if we place the Hamads on the web, why bother publishing them at all?

As you can see, there is no simple solution to these questions!

Year’s end

As has become our usual practise, the next issue of AR will be a combined January/February issue, hopefully out late in January. The sunspot numbers appear to be slowly rising, so enjoy the improved HF propagation. For those interested in VHF, UHF and microwaves, read the new rules for the Ross Hull Memorial Contest and note the new dates, in the Contest column of this issue. Also remember the Summer VHF/UHF Field Day.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all.

73, Peter VK3KAI


A view of the VK3BJM portable station located on the Mt Arden ridge in the Flinders Ranges. Barry had his antennas pointing toward Adelaide. See the story commencing on page 23. Photo by Barry Miller VK3BJM.

Table Of Contents


FDMDV: Frequency Division Multiplex Digital Voice, Gerry Wild VK6GW
Gridsquare Standings at 17 October 2008, Guy Fletcher VK2KU
Spinifex and contrails, Barry Miller VK3BJM
Pirates on the two metre band, Terry Stewart VK4AAT
Northern Rivers district 2008 JOTA/JOTI at Murwillumbah, Reg Robinson VK2FARR
Redcliffe and Districts Radio Club, and nearly 200 Scouts, enjoy JOTA, Cec Kenny VK4CF
Summerland ARC
The Tranmere Sea Scouts – Jamboree of the Air 2008, Andrew Bolton VK5HIL
Ipswich and District Radio Club – Jamboree of the Air 2008, Michael J. Charteris VK4Q

An active loop-stick receiving antenna for 1.5 ~ 2 MHz, Drew Diamond VK3XU
10 and 100 MHz crystal frequency reference/transfer standard, Drew Diamond VK3XU
Pic-A-Star – Homebrew HF Transceiver (SDR), Kevin Crockett VK3CKC

Spinifex and contrails

Author: Barry Miller VK3BJM

Well known for his activities on the VHF and UHF bands, Barry Miller reports on his latest trip to the Flinders Ranges. A little time was spent helping an amateur, but a key focus was Barry’s attempts at long haul DX, especially utilising aircraft enhancement propagation.

One of Barry’s photos makes the cover this month, together with a detailed report.

FDMDV: Frequency Division Multiplex Digital Voice

Author: Gerry Wild VK6GW

Amateur radio is nothing if not adventurous.

FDMDV is a new digital voice mode only now being developed, and many amateurs world wide are experimenting with it to determine its usefulness to the furtherance of the amateur radio hobby.

The author really only gives an overview of what the mode is, its specifications, a few observations on performance, and website information where further, detailed, information may be available.

But he does succeed in saying enough to whet ones appetite!

An active loop-stick receiving antenna for 1.5 ~ 2 MHz

Author: Drew Diamond VK3XU
Another article from our most prolific contributor Drew Diamond, where he briefly describes the theory appropriate to maximising one’s LF receiving capability, and provides one suggested method for achieving this goal.

Like many of Drew’s articles it is short and to the point, and requires only a modest building effort. But the antenna as described does deliver a performance benefit due to its ability to null much of the local random noise prevalent on this band, thereby allowing one to better hear the desired signal.

Pic-A-Star – Homebrew HF Transceiver (SDR)

Author: Kevin Crockett VK3CKC
‘This article is not all there is to know, or all you might want to know, about Pic-A-Star. It serves to alert you to the possibility of building your next all-HF transceiver and is relatively skeletal as far as information is concerned. To provide more would only be repeating part of the vast amount of information available via the Internet. After all, you will require a computer and Internet access if you decide to build one’.

Thus the author launches into his explanation on what Pic-A-Star is, how you may become involved, the degree of difficulty, both technically and in time, where the movement is, world wide, where he thinks it may be heading, and the possible, or indeed, probable, outcome somewhere not too far in to the future.

Kevin intimates that anyone taking on this building challenge is in for a very exciting time, on an exercise that will produce a great deal of self learning and experimentation, but that will see the outcome being a transceiver that will be, in many aspects, as good as any current commercial offering.

An interesting read, and certainly one that will challenge those who enjoy building, and technical excellence, in ways not often presented.

Advertisers Index

 62 Av-com
 46 WIA Bookshop
 11 City Online (G White)
 42 Com-an-tena
 OBC Icom
 9 Kuhne Electronic
 62, 63 Small ads
 22 Syncro
 14 TET-Emtron
 17, 63 TTS
 IFC Vertex
 28 White (Hamshack)


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